Doctorate in laboratory study of subglacial drainage

ETH Zürich
Zürich, Switzerland
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Not Specified
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)
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Subglacial water flow plays a pivotal role in glacier dynamics via impacting sliding speeds, erosion rates, and glacier lake drainages. However, the decade-old theories of subglacial drainage remain only weakly tested as direct observations are difficult. The avenue of testing these theories in laboratory experiments remains largely unexplored.

Our institute, the Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW), has both a long-standing expertise in subglacial drainage studies as well as a world renown hydraulics laboratory. This project aims to combine those two fields of expertise to investigate subglacial drainage in a laboratory setting. A novel flume experiment will be constructed and used to simulate the subglacial conditions.

Job description

The project aims at simulating the hydraulics, sediment transport, and till dynamics in a setting designed to mimic the subglacial environment of a till-bedded glacier. With the experiments you will test existing theories of so-called canal drainage. A particular focus will be on canal inception, steady states, till dynamics, and whether a canal drainage system is distributed or channelised.

To achieve these measurements you will design and construct a novel type of flume allowing for pressurised water flow and till compression.

The starting date is negotiable, the latest start being envisioned for 1 September 2020.

The planned project duration is 3.5 years.

Your profile

  • A Master degree in science or engineering
  • Fluency in English
  • Curiosity about and intuition of fluid dynamical processes
  • Eagerness and skill to design and construct a large and novel experimental setup
  • Effective at communication with our workshop & construction team as well as the ability to do hands-on work
  • Experience in writing code and a willingness to produce an excellent software pipeline to evaluate model measurements